Queenmothers advocate support for agric sector
About 86 paramount and sub queenmothers from across the 16 regions of the country have called on the government, development partners and financial institutions to support the growth of the agricultural sector through assisting women in the sector.
The queenmothers, who are all involved in the agricultural sector, made the appeal during the 5th edition of the “Gathering of the Royals” event in Accra yesterday, organised by AgriHouse Foundation.
The Gathering of the Royals is held annually with a focus on strengthening working relationships among traditional and corporate leaders and policymakers to explore further opportunities within the agric sector.
Apart from the queenmothers, this year's event brought together representatives from academia, the government, development agencies and agric institutions.
It was on the theme: “Championing Agri-growth through Queenmothers- the Agri booster Module”.
Sharing their views during a panel discussion as part of activities during the gathering, the queenmothers, joined by some women in the agricultural sector, made the call on the government on behalf of their colleagues.
The panel members included the Amosima Hemaa, who doubles as the Nyinfa Hemaa of Asebu Traditional Council, in the Central Region, Nana Okom Egua II, who is also a commercial fish farmer; Nandom Queenmother, Upper West Region, Pognaa Leticia Tantuo, who is also into the cultivation of maize and soya beans and the rearing of livestock ; and the Queenmother of Dodze Apete in the Volta Region, Mama Yorfomi Gligui II, a commercial farmer and processor of rice, cassava and maize.
The others were Kabachewurche Bunyanso in the Savannah Region, Braimah Azara, a cashew and turkey commercial farmer; and the Queenmother of Dindani Traditional Area in the North East Region, Naa Naama Azabu Tamboo, who owns groundnut, millet, maize and soya bean farms.
The rest are a sub queenmother from the Northern Region, Kasuli Paani, who is into maize and rice commercial farming, and a 2022 Gold in the Soil awards winner from the Western Region, Evelyn Andoh, who is into plantain, cocoa, oil palm, cassava, cocoyam and vegetable farming.
Needs of farmers
Mama Yorfomi Gligui II asked financial institutions to provide financial assistance to women in the agricultural sector by offering lower interest loans designed to sustain and attract women into the sector.
"Banks must not sit in their offices and think for us but they must visit us in our farms.
We are women, we do not have money, we need support.
The government and banks must support us to produce more," she said.
Braimah Azara said: "If we can produce more food, we will need money.
She was of the view that policymakers must come up with clear policies to address challenges in the agricultural sector.
Pognaa Leticia Tantuo urged agro dealers to provide good seeds that would guarantee higher yields and reduce the cost of production.
"Women are vulnerable.
We use the proceeds from the farming activities to support our families, particularly, our children but when we are not provided with viable seeds it makes the cost of our production high and it erodes our earnings," she said.
Madam Tantuo also appealed to traders who bought farm produce at the farm gates to buy them at realistic prices and not cheat farmers.
The Amosima Hemaa, called on the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant bodies to put in place measures to prevent the sale of counterfeit agro products such as seeds and chemicals to farmers.
Madam Evelyn Andoh said she had to destroy a vast coffee farm because of the lack of buyers.
She called for intensive research into agriculture that would support women in agriculture and also urged women in the agricultural sector to diversify their crop production to boost their income.
The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo, pledged the government’s commitment to the growth of the agricultural sector.
He commended AgriHouse for mobilising women and supporting the growth of the agric sector in the country.
"The issues discussed here are pertinent.
We know some of them already, there are others we are trying to solve and we will do our best to address the issues,"he said.
He also indicated his commitment to take up the matter of the coffee that had to be destroyed because of lack of buyers.
"We need the foreign exchange from coffee," he said.
The Executive Director of AgriHouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, said strengthening partnerships and collaborative efforts among traditional leaders and stakeholders, including academia, policymakers, development agencies and agric institutions were steps in the right direction towards empowering women farmers and ensuring their sustainability.
She said over the years, the efforts of AgriHouse had created more productive and empowering avenues for women in the agric value chain.
Submitting the commitment of the Ghana Police Sservice to the agricultural sector, the Director General in charge of Welfare, Commissioner of Police (COP) Habiba Yaa A.
Twumasi-Sarpong, said the service would continue to carry out its mandate to ensure peace in the country, since without peace the agricultural sector would not grow.
She said the Police Administration had put in place a number of interventions, including community policing, intensification of motorbike patrols and creation of police regional commands, among others, to bring policing to the doorstep of the public.